Oscar Beat: The Best Actress Race at a Glance

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Every year it seems like Oscars’ Best Actor category is crowded, while the number of contenders for the Best Actress trophy feels relatively thin.  It’s a result of the sad fact that there just aren’t as many interesting lead roles for women in Hollywood as there are for men; many times the “female lead” is relegated to existing only in relation to the film’s male lead.  It’s disappointing to be sure, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t any noteworthy female roles out there, and this year’s Best Actress race is an excellent showcase of both talent and range, from brilliant sociopaths to Alzheimer’s patients.

After the jump, I take a look at the current state of the Best Actress Oscar category in this new edition of Oscar Beat.

David O. Russell Says JOY Will Be a “Departure” and an “Unexpected Movie” for Jennifer Lawrence

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After director David O. Russell’s romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook nearly took the Oscars by storm a couple years ago, the filmmaker doubled down with the incredibly awards friendly American Hustle.  While the 2013 ensemble comedy was certainly colorful and fun, it ultimately felt a bit hollow, and it ended up nabbing zero awards despite a hefty 10 nominations.  So what does the director do next?  Well a movie about the inventor of the Miracle Mop, of course.  Russell is firming up Joy as his next picture with a February production start-date planned, as he’s assembling his cast around star Jennifer Lawrence that could include Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle co-stars Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper in supporting roles.

As filming looks to get underway in a few months, Russell recently spoke a bit about his plans for the picture, which he describes as a “departure” and an “unexpected movie” both for himself and for Lawrence.  More after the jump.

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT Trailer: Marion Cotillard Fights for Her Job in New Film from The Dardenne Brothers

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The U.S. trailer for Two Days, One Night has been released online, giving us a new look at the latest film from directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (The Kid with the Bike).  The drama stars Marion Cotillard as a woman who has one weekend to see her colleagues one by one and convince them to give up their bonuses so she can keep her job.  The picture has earned strong notices on the festival circuit going back to its debut at Cannes, and based on this trailer it looks to be a swell showcase for Cotillard’s talents.  Moreover, the ticking clock of the deadline provides a bit of a thriller aspect to the story’s proceedings.

Check out the Two Days, One Night trailer after the jump.  The film opens in New York and Los Angeles in December and expands in January.

Wednesday TV Ratings: ARROW and MODERN FAMILY Drop; Crossover Event Boosts LAW & ORDER: SVU and CHICAGO PD

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TV ratings for Wednesday, November 12th are in.  Here’s a brief rundown:

  • The CW’s Arrow (read Dave’s recap here) was down 18% to a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 2.57 million viewers, while The 100 rose 20% to a 0.6 rating and 1.79 million viewers.
  • ABC’s Modern Family fell 11% to a season low 3.1 rating and 9.77 million viewers, while The Middle rose 6% to a 1.9 rating and 8.12 million viewers, The Goldbergs was down 5% to a 2.1 rating and 7.54 million viewers, black-ish dropped 7% to a 2.5 rating and 7.87 million viewers, and Nashville was even with a 1.4 rating and scored5.63 million viewers.
  • CBS’ Criminal Minds was up 10% to a 2.3 rating and garnered 10.1 million viewers, and Stalker dropped 7% to a 1.4 rating and scored 6.98 million viewers.
  • Fox’s Red Band Society was even with last week’s 0.9 rating and scored 2.84 million viewers.
  • On NBC, the crossover event rose both Law & Order: SVU and Chicago PD, with the former up 50% to a 2.4 rating and 10.01 million viewers and PD up 57% to a 2.2 rating and 9.47 million viewers.

Jessica Chastain Demands Respect in First A MOST VIOLENT YEAR Clip

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A24 Films has released the first A Most Violent Year clip from writer/director J.C. Chandor’s (All Is Lost) upcoming crime drama.  The film is set in New York in 1981 and revolves around “an American immigrant (Oscar Isaac) and his wife (Jessica Chastain) trying to expand their business as violence and corruption threaten to destroy all they have built.”  This new clip, in no uncertain terms, serves to highlight Chastain’s performance in light of Best Supporting Actress consideration, as she explains to the District Attorney (played by David Oyelowo) how she and her husband must be respected.  This is absolutely one of my most anticipated films of the year, and response from its premiere at AFI Fest was incredibly positive, with many noting that Chandor once again uses a very specific story to draw parallels to what’s going on in our world today.

Check out the first A Most Violent Year clip after the jump.  The film also stars Alessandro Nivola and Albert BrooksA Most Violent Year opens in limited release on December 31st before expanding in January 2015.

Exclusive Look at Laurent Durieux’s THE GODFATHER Print for Odd City; On Sale November 17th

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We here at Collider are happy to give you an exclusive early look at artist Laurent Durieux’s limited edition screen print for one of the greatest films of all time, The Godfather.  The print was created for Odd City and will be on sale in three versions starting Monday, November 17th around 11am CST.  There’s the regular edition, which goes for $65, the variant edition for $100, and a wood edition for $300 with a limited run of 50.  A limited number of each version is available so you’ll have to act fast to get one of these on your hands, and after getting a look at the poster you’ll no doubt want to.  Take a look at both the regular and variant editions of the poster after the jump.

Bradley Cooper Looks Intense in New AMERICAN SNIPER Images

by     Posted One week ago

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Warner Bros. has released a couple of new American Sniper images from director Clint Eastwood’s military drama.  Bradley Cooper plays U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who served four tours of duty in Iraq and quickly became the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.  His reputation extended across enemy lines, making him a prime target for the insurgency, and when he returned home to his wife and kids he struggled to leave the war behind.  The film premiered at AFI Fest last night, and depending on who you talk to it’s either great or just merely OK.  Most seemed to agree, however, that it’s Eastwood’s best work in years and that Cooper delivers an incredibly impressive performance.  My hope is that Eastwood’s scope transcends the simple task of Kyle’s duty in the line of fire and delves into some of the morally grey areas that the excellent trailer hints towards.

Check out the new American Sniper images after the jump.  The film also stars Sienna MillerJake McDormanLuke GrimesNavid Negahban, and Keir O’Donnell.  American Sniper opens in limited release on December 25th.

Reese Witherspoon Gets Mistaken for a Hobo in Excellent New WILD Clip

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Fox Searchlight has released a new Wild clip from director Jean-Marc Vallée’s (Dallas Buyers Club) upcoming drama, and it’s a fantastic representation of the film as a whole.  Based on the Cheryl Strayed memoir of the same name (adapted by Nick Hornby), Reese Witherspoon stars as a woman who attempts a three-month long hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, during which she reflects on past mistakes and hardships, and struggles to find some inner peace.  While the premise may sound trite and predictable, the film is anything but.  It’s funny, surprising, and emotionally affecting, and Witherspoon gives quite possibly the best performance of her career.  This new clip comes from a scene in which Witherspoon’s character gets mistaken for a hobo and responds in sharp fashion.  Again, I highly recommend seeing the film when it comes to a theater near you; it’s one of my favorites of the year.

Check out the new Wild clip after the jump, and click here to read my full review from TIFF.  The film also stars Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffmann, Kevin Rankin, W. Earl Brown, Mo McRae, and Keene McRaeWild opens in theaters on December 5th.

Shawn Levy to Direct Ali Baba Redo FORTY THIEVES; Liam Hemsworth, Evan Peters, and More Testing for Lead

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After making his first foray into drama to mostly successful results with This Is Where I Leave You, filmmaker Shawn Levy is lining up another large-scale picture.  The Wrap reports that Levy will direct a new take on the folk tale Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves for 20th Century Fox called Forty Thieves.  The project is described as being in the vein of Pirates of the Caribbean and Guardians of the Galaxy (already this one’s a point of reference?), and is envisioned as “an adventure movie with strong comedic undertones.”  Hit the jump to find out which actors have been testing for the lead role.

Jai Courtney in Talks to Play Deadshot in SUICIDE SQUAD; Will Smith May Be Playing Captain Boomerang

by     Posted One week ago

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It seemed as though the packed nature of the cast for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a one-time thing, an easy way of introducing a large ensemble of DC Comics characters before focusing on smaller casts in subsequent films.  But that may not be the case exactly.  Over the past few months, the studio has been putting together the ensemble for Suicide Squad, the supervillain-filled DC Comics adaptation that will arrive in August 2016 after BvS opens the previous March, and it’s looking pretty stacked with talent already.  Will Smith, Tom Hardy, and Margot Robbie are all in various stages of negotiations, with Robbie poised to play Harley Quinn and Jesse Eisenberg potentially set to appear as Lex Luthor, and we recently learned that Jared Leto is also in talks to play The Joker.

Now we know who Warner Bros. is looking at to play the Batman villain Deadshot, and it’s none other than Jai Courtney.  More after the jump, including which characters Smith and Hardy may be playing.

Universal Assembles “Writer’s Room” for Cinematic Monster Universe; WOLFMAN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and More Reboots Planned

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I’ve written before about how this new “interconnected universe” approach to franchise filmmaking is a bad idea.  Approaching the film medium like a television series scales back the individualized nature of each film in favor of a serialized, streamlined approach, but Marvel movies make a ton of money so this trend continues to catch on, and Universal is going one further by assembling a literal writer’s room for its Monster Movie Universe.

Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman (Transformers) and Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious franchise) are spearheading Universal’s reboot of its classic monsters, with The Mummy on tap to be the first film out of the gate in 2015 with Kurtzman directing.  But now the duo is getting some help in shaping the Monster Movie Universe, as they’ve assembled a brain trust of screenwriters that includes Prisoners scribe Aaron Guzikowski and Men in Black writer Ed Solomon to develop subsequent features.  Hit the jump for more, including which Universal monsters are getting the reboot treatment.

Tuesday TV Ratings: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. and PERSON OF INTEREST Fall to Series Lows; THE FLASH Steady

by     Posted One week ago

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TV ratings for Tuesday, November 11th are in.  Here’s a brief rundown:

  • ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (read Evan Valentine’s recap here) fell 12% to another series low with a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 4.27 million viewers.  Elsewhere on the network, Forever dropped 9% to a 1.0 rating and 4.21 million viewers.
  • Over on The CW, The Flash (read Dave’s recap here) was even with its most recent new episode’s 1.4 rating and scored 3.4 million viewers, while the 200th (!) episode of Supernatural rose 13% to a 0.9 rating and 2.19 million viewers.
  • CBS’ Person of Interest was down 24% to a series low 1.3 rating and scored 9.03 million viewers, NCIS dropped 12% to a 2.3 rating and 17.41 million viewers, and NCIS: New Orleans was down 13% to a 2.0 rating and 14.88 million viewers.
  • Fox’s New Girl was down 19% to a 1.3 rating and 2.95 million viewers, while The Mindy Project fell 23% to a 1.0 rating and 2.45 million viewers.
  • Finally, NBC’s Chicago Fire was up 29% to a 2.2 rating and 9.09 million viewers.

New ARROW Images Offer a First Look at Katie Cassidy as Black Canary

by     Posted One week ago

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The CW has unveiled some new Arrow images that provide a closer look at a character that I assume fans of the show and/or comics have been anticipating for some time.  Actress Katie Cassidy has been playing Laurel Lance since the DC Comics adaptation’s first season in 2012, but it appears that her character will also be assuming the alter ego of Black Canary in upcoming episodes.  In the comics, Black Canary first appeared in 1947 and was one of DC’s very first superheroines.  I don’t watch the show so I’m not familiar with how Black Canary’s emergence affects the ensemble, but I’m sure Arrow fans are eager to get a look at the character’s costume.

Check out the first Arrow Black Canary images after the jump, and click here to catch up on all of Dave’s recaps.  The series airs Wednesday nights on The CW.

Aaron Sorkin to Adapt Molly Bloom Memoir MOLLY’S GAME Set in the World of High Stakes Poker

by     Posted One week ago

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With Aaron Sorkin recently saying he’s probably leaving television behind for good after this third and final season of HBO’s The Newsroom, the West Wing and Moneyball scribe is zeroing in on his next feature film assignment.  Sorkin was in high demand after winning the Oscar for his brilliant The Social Network screenplay, and he tackled an adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography as his follow-up film.  With the Jobs movie off the ground and heading towards starting production next year with Danny Boyle directing and Michael Fassbender possibly starring as the Apple innovator, Sorkin is now looking to put his talents towards a biopic of a wholly different sort.

The screenwriter will adapt Molly Bloom’s memoir Molly’s Game, which chronicles how an intelligent and driven world class skier and political science major came to be running the most exclusive high stakes poker game in the world.  More after the jump.

THE COBBLER Trailer: Adam Sandler Has Magic Shoes in Thomas McCarthy’s Fantastical Drama

by     Posted One week ago

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The first international trailer for director Thomas McCarthy’s (The Station Agent) fantasy drama The Cobbler has been released online, and it’s certainly something.  The film stars Adam Sandler as a disillusioned shoe repairman who happens upon a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see things from their perspective.  The project had a lot of promise given McCarthy’s resume (Win Win, The Visitor) and Sandler’s return to more dramatic material, but it premiered to almost astoundingly bad reviews at TIFF and this trailer makes it look like one of those joke movies from Funny People.  Obviously the premise is tricky to pull off in a convincing manner, but boy does this look like a misfire.  That probably explains why it still hasn’t acquired domestic distribution.

Watch the first The Cobbler trailer for yourself after the jump, and check out Steve’s interviews with Sandler & McCarthy and Cliff “Method Man” Smith and Ellen Barkin from TIFF.  The Cobbler also stars Melonie DiazDan StevensFritz WeaverYul VazquezSteve Buscemi and Dustin Hoffman.

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